Not many historians can boast that their books have been turned into award-winning rap musicals. But Ron Chernow, author of the book that inspired the musical Hamilton, is that rare bird.
The show got its off-Broadway start at The Public Theater in January 2015. Three and a half years later, it has set box office records, won dozens of awards, got critical acclaim, and started touring the country. Hamilton plays Houston’s Hobby Center for the Performing Arts April 24 through May 20.
Hamilton tells the rags to riches immigrant story of American founding father, Alexander Hamilton. Born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, a penniless orphan by age 11, he showed such promise that some local men pitched in to send him to King’s College (now Columbia University) in New York. There he got caught up in the revolutionary spirit and found himself fighting in the War of Independence. His military career included a stint as aide-de-camp to General George Washington.
Hamilton’s story has all the drama and excitement an audience could want, including helping to forge a new nation and constitution, weathering America’s first political sex scandal, facing accusations of embezzlement and dying in a duel.
What’s the big deal?
It’s hard to imagine that American history – the bane of many a school child – could suddenly be presented in such a gripping and popular way. What are Hamilton’s secrets?
Wide appeal. Few shows appeal to both avid theater-goers who value acting, and hip-hop fans dedicated to beats and clever, complicated rhymes.
Colorblind casting. Director/composer/playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda decided his cast should reflect America today, so he invited qualified actors to audition, regardless of race. Since people like to relate to those they see on stage, a multi-culti cast leads to a wider audience.
Catchy songs. The tunes are catchy, the words inspiring. People love to sing along.
Fan involvement. Lin connects with Hamilton fans on social media, and fans enjoy connecting with each other.
If you go
Tickets to Hamilton are notoriously expensive and usually sell out. Expect to pay at least $200 per ticket. However, in an effort to widen the theater audience, a lottery allows a limited number of winners to score $10 tickets two days in advance.
In addition to tickets, parking is also expensive and hard to find when Hamilton comes to town. Why not charter a bus for your theater-going group? AFC takes the stress out of a night at the theater by dropping off your group in a convenient spot, then picking you up afterward. The show runs 2 hours and 50 minutes. By the time it’s over, will you really want to spend time finding your car, then navigating your way out of traffic? Instead, consider letting our skilled, professional drivers deal with traffic while you sit back with your friends and discuss the show.